There's a Chef in My Kitchen
Culinary musings of an amateur chef and home to The Virtual Supper Club.

November Recipes

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
© 2003CondeNet Inc., Epicurious Food, Originally appearing in Bon Appétit, November 2000 Flavors of the World

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Beat dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake loaf cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap in plastic; store at room temperature.)

Makes 12 servings.

Mushroom Ravioli with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
Recipe by:  Chef Monica Schatz, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Coconut Grove, Florida
Pennsylvania Fresh Mushrooms Recipe Book, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Mushroom Ravioli
1 cup fresh white button mushrooms, finely chopped
3 ounces oyster mushrooms, finely chopped
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
1/2 ounce olive oil
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley, plus to garnish
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
16 wonton skins
2 ounces portabella mushrooms, grilled and julienned

To prepare duxelles, heat mushrooms and shallots in olive oil in a saute pan.  Add lemon juice.  Continue to cook on low heat until liquid evaporates.  Remove from stove; let mixture cool.  Add cheese, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  Lay wonton skins on flat surface.  Brush with egg wash.  Place 1/2 ounce mushroom duxelle in center of each skin; fold over dough to make triangle, pinching the edges with a fork to seal.  Blanch the ravioli in boiling water for 2 minutes; remove.  Place in saute pan with gorgonzola sauce* and heat until sauce is hot. 

To serve, place ravioli on a plate, top with sauce.  Garnish with portabella mushrooms and chopped parsley.

*Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
1/2 ounce Spanish onion, chopped
2 ounces white wine
8 ounces heavy cream
3 ounces gorgonzola cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Reduce onion and wine, cooking until onion softens.  Add heavy cream; bring to a boil.  Whip in cheese.  Remove from heat when cheese is completely blended.  Strain through a cheesecloth; season with salt and pepper.

Poached Salmon Salad with Mustard Dressing
From The Garden Entertaining Cookbook: Recipes and Menus for Casual Dining Outdoors by Barbara Scott-Goodman, Mary Goodbody
Serves 6

1 bunch asparagus spears (12 to 14 spears)

1 ½ quarts water
1 cup dry white wine
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, sliced
10 peppercorns (about ¼ teaspoon)
1 bay leaf
Parsley sprigs
6 skinned salmon steaks, about ¼-inch thick, or skinned salmon fillets (total of about 3 lbs. of salmon)

3 tablespoons white wine or Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches fresh watercress, for serving
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish

  1. To poach the asparagus and salmon: Combine the water, wine, carrots, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, and parsley sprigs in a large, deep skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the asparagus spears. Poach for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the asparagus is crisp-tender. Using tongs, lift the asparagus from the poaching liquid and set aside to drain and cool.
  2. Add the salmon to the simmering poaching liquid, cover, and poach for about 15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat should register 140º F. Lift the salmon from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool.
  3. To make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking, until emulsified. Stir in the shallot and dill and season t taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Flake or cut the salmon into bite-size chunks. Chop the asparagus into 1 ½- to 2-inch lengths. Put the salmon and asparagus in a bowl and toss gently to mix. Spoon the dressing over the salmon.
  5. Arrange the watercress on a platter and spoon the salmon salad over it. Garnish with cucumber.

Pancetta, Dried Cherry And Port Dressing
Source:  Epicurious Food
Dried cranberries would make a good alternative to the dried cherries.

1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries
1/2 cup tawny Port
5 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

1. Combine cherries and Port in heavy small saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; let stand until cherries swell, about 15 minutes.

2. Sauté pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add shallots and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add oil, then vinegar and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in cherry mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Set aside in skillet at room temperature.

Chefís Notes: The 1/3 cup olive oil may not be necessary, especially if you are using bacon. The bacon renders plenty of fat that works in place of the olive oil.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Cranberry Port Sauce
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2003, © Copyright 2003 Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Inc.

Serves 6

8 ounces rye bread (about ½ loaf) trimmed of crust and cut into ¼ inch dice
½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half-moons, and rinsed well
3 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus leaves (optional) for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon dried time
1 cup dried cranberries, divided
¾ cup Double Turkey Stock, divided
4 Cornish game hens (approximately 1 ½ pounds each)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature or just beginning to melt
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup of tawny Port

Prepare Stuffing:
Preheat oven to 350˚. Spread out diced bread on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, turning occasionally, until light brown and dry, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but no smoking. Add leek, mushrooms, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in bread, chopped sage, parsley, mustard, thyme and ¾ cup cranberries, and ½ cup of stock.

Stuffing can be made ahead, covered and stored in refrigerator up to 8 hours.

Prepare Cornish Game Hens:
Preheat oven to 450˚. Spoon stuffing into bird cavities; tie legs together with kitchen twine. Using a pastry brush, generously apply butter to birds, and then sprinkle with pepper and remaining salt.

Arrange birds on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚, and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs (avoiding bone) registers 165˚. Transfer rack with birds to a rimmed baking sheet, and let rest about 15 minutes.

Prepare Cranberry Port Sauce:
Set roasting pan on top of stove (across two burners if necessary); set heat to medium-high. Add port and remaining ¼ cup of stock; deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ¼ cup dried cranberries; cook, stirring, until sauce reduces slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.

To Serve:
Place birds on a serving platter, and drizzle sauce over them. Garnish with sage leaves, if desired and serve.

Cranberry Sauce with Dried Figs
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2003, © Copyright 2003 Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Inc.

This cranberry sauce with dried Calimyrna figs has a chutney like texture. A little red wine makes the sauce rich in flavor and ruby red in color.

Makes 2 ¾ cups; Serves 8 to 10

1 bag fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
5 ounces dried Calimyrna figs, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
½ cup sugar
¼ dry red wine or cranberry juice

1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients; cook over low heat until most of the cranberries have burst, about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer cranberry sauce to a small bowl. Let cool; cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature, 30 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
From Epicurious Food, first appeared in Gourmet, November 1996

Serves 6 generously

1 loaf pumpkin cranberry bread (recipe follows)
For Ginger Custard:
1/3 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
Accompaniment: caramel sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350° F. and butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan. Line cake pan with a round of wax paper and butter wax paper.

Cut enough 1/4-inch-thick slices from loaf to line side of cake pan, trimming slices so that tops are flush with rim of pan. Gently press slices against side of cake pan to make them adhere.

Cut enough of remaining loaf, including scraps, into 1/2-inch pieces to measure 5 cups and put in bottom of cake pan.

Make custard:
In a heavy saucepan bring ginger, sugar, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and simmer 5 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring just to a simmer. Remove pan from heat.

In a heatproof bowl whisk together whole eggs and yolks and add hot milk mixture in a stream, whisking. Pour custard through a fine sieve onto bread pieces in bottom of cake pan, pressing hard on ginger, and coat pieces well (bread pieces will float to surface of custard).

Put cake pan in a larger pan and add enough water to larger pan to reach half-way up side of cake pan. Bake pudding in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until custard is set and a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake pan from larger pan and cool pudding on a rack. Chill pudding, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

To unmold pudding, run a thin knife around edge of cake pan and dip pan into a bowl of hot water 15 seconds. Invert a large plate over cake pan and invert pudding onto plate. Peel off wax paper and invert pudding right side up onto another large plate. Bring pudding to room temperature and cut into wedges. (If serving pudding warm, transfer wedges to a baking sheet and reheat in a 325° F. oven.)

Serve pudding at room temperature or warm with caramel sauce.

Caramel sauce
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Chefís Notes: I prepared the bread pudding in a soufflé dish, using the height of one slice of pumpkin bread to set the depth of my pudding in the dish. The cooking time was almost doubled, but the results were wonderful. The tops of the pumpkin bread had a nice crust and the pudding was dense and moist. To serve, heat pudding scoops or slices in a 325° F. oven. Remove. Garnish plate with caramel sauce and a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
Adapted from Epicurious Food, First appeared in Gourmet, November 1996

Makes 1 loaf.

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 generous teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 generous teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup picked-over fresh or frozen cranberries (or 1 cup chopped walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350° F. and butter a loaf pan, 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs, and oil. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices and stir just until batter is smooth. Stir in cranberries (or walnuts) and spoon batter into loaf pan, spreading evenly.

Bake bread in middle of oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack and cool completely. Bread may be made 4 days ahead and chilled, covered.

Sweet Potatoes with Wild Mushrooms
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2003, © Copyright 2003 Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Inc.

Serves 6

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons brandy
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Olive oil for pan
3 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Place porcini mushrooms in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Let soak, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms; reserve 1/3 cup soaking liquid. Using Paper towels, squeeze excess water from mushrooms; roughly chop, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°, with rack in center. In a small bowl, whisky brandy, 5 tablespoons butter, and reserved mushroom liquid. Rub a gratin pan or skillet with oil. Arrange one-quarter of potatoes in a single layer on bottom, overlapping slightly. Scatter one-third of mushrooms over potatoes, the drizzle with one-quarter brandy mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering two more times; top with remaining potatoes and liquid; season with salt.

Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake until potatoes are fork tender, about 35 minutes. Remove foil, and brush top with remaining tablespoon butter. Continue baking until potatoes are golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Foie Gras on a Bed of Walnut Oil Dressed Greens (Foie Gras sur salade a líhuile de noix)
© Copyright 2003, "On Rue Tatin" with Susan Herrmann Loomis

This recipe is a divine inspiration of the season, a harmonious marriage of simple, straightforward flavors held together with the melting texture of foie gras.

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ to 1/3 cup walnut oil
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 shallot, cut in paper thin slices
1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, broken into chunks
1 pound fresh foie gras, cut into ½-inch thick slices, chilled
Fleur de sel
Fresh Chervil sprigs, for garnish

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and the walnut oil. Whisk in the shallot. Add the greens and toss. Divide the salad among six plates. Sprinkle each salad with an equal amount of toasted walnuts.
  2. Heat a heavy pan over medium heat until it is hot. Add the foie gras and cook until it is golden on each side and hot through, but not melted, about 45 seconds per side. Arrange two pieces of foie gras atop each plate of salad, sprinkle with fleur de sel and garnish each plate with chervil sprigs. Serve immediately.

6 appetizer servings

Chardonnay Cream Sauce
Adapted from Seasons of the Vineyard, by Robert Mondavi, Margrit Biever Mondavi and Carolyn Dille.
© Copyright 1996 by The Robert Mondavi Corporation and Carolyn Dille, Simon & Schuster.

2 shallots, minced
1 ½ cups Chardonnay
¼ cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
Nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the shallots, Chardonnay and cream in a nonreactive saucepan. Reduce over high heat to about ¼ liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the butter, a few bits at a time, until all the butter is incorporated and the sauce emulsified. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add lemon juice, to taste.

Can be made ahead. Reheat sauce over low heat before serving.

Makerís Mark Caramel Sauce
Makes 4-6 Servings

2 Cups simple syrup (recipe below)
2 cups half & half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Makerís Mark Whisky

Simple Syrup
Makes about 2 ¼ cups

1 cup water
2 Cups Sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

  1. Heat syrup in a large sauce pan, over high flame, until syrup just begins to turn caramel color. Do not stir. Remove from heat as soon as desired colore is achieved, and allow to cool for five minutes. NOTE: take the syrup off the flame as soon as the syrup is caramel colored throughout. If you wait too long, the caramel will burn. Use extreme caution: boiling sugar is extremely dangerous.
  2. Heat 1 cup of the cream in a sauce pan until it boils. Remove from heat and add cream very slowly to the cooled caramel. Be very careful. The syrup is still extremely hot and will boil up as soon as the first drops of cream hits the syrup. Stir in cream until well combined. Return sauce to stove over a low flame.
  3. Dissolve cornstarch in one cup of the cold cream and add to the simmering mixture, whisking vigorously and continuously to prevent burning. Remove from heat once liquid has thickened and begins to boil.
  4. Cool in an ice bath and whisk in bourbon. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

© Copyright 2004 Donna Marie Zotter. Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.
Last update: 3/9/04; 10:40:07 PM.